Bridging the digital skills gap by building partnerships between businesses and online education providers
- Upskill America¹ is an initiative announced by US President Barack Obama to bridge the digital skill gap, by building partnerships between businesses and online education providers to grow digital skills across the workforce.
- The rapid growth of jobs in the digital sector has led to a talent gap, where supply for digital skills is not meeting demand; Cisco estimates there are currently 1 million unfilled digital security roles currently while the White House predict that there will be 1 million open jobs in IT in the US by 2020.
- Expenditure of traditional retraining is already high; US businesses are identified as spending over $600 billion on internal training, of which $413 billion is on informal training and $177 billion on formal training.
- The Upskill America Initiative complements existing public-private programs in the US, such as the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII), which brings together higher education institutions, manufacturing research labs and businesses to train more than 1,000 students for jobs in advanced manufacturing.
- Impact on business: The Upskill America Initiative will enable businesses across the nation with improved digital skills programmes; there are currently 100 companies involved that together employ more than 5 million people in the United States, in partnership with 30 national labour unions, and accelerated by new innovative data and tools.
- Impact on society: The overall ambition for the initiative is to upskill and enable more than 20 million workers in front-line jobs who may are currently identified as lacking the opportunity to progress into higher-paying jobs.
- The US government plans to leverage partnerships between employers and technology innovators to increase access to high-quality and personalized learning.
- The initiative is already making an impact; 33% of business report the use of online communities of practice; 28% using blogs, wikis and forums; 26% using expertise directories; and 13% using social networking sites.
Upskill America is one of more than 100 case studies identified as part of the World Economic Forum’s Digital Transformation of Industries initiative. An overview of the DTI program can be found here.
1. Source: Whitehouse.org, Recode, Cisco, WEF/Accenture Analysis